Friday, February 10, 2017

Courage, Dear Heart #love4lexi

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." 

A young teenage girl, the middle daughter of three lovely daughters from a local family, lies in a hospital bed, kept alive by a machine, awaiting a bittersweet miracle. She needs a heart transplant now. Her name is Lexi. Her favorite color is purple. She loves the Lord.

#love4lexi. 





Everyone is thinking about hearts. It is February after all. #love4lexi

A community is praying for Lexi,for her family, for this miracle. #love4lexi 

Her classmate and local phenom basketball player, LaMelo Ball dedicated his 92 points scored in one game to her this week. That made national news. #love4lexi. 

As I walked onto my high school campus (work) this morning, the signs were everywhere. BULLDOGS SUPPORT LEXI, #LOVE4LEXI 

She attends the other high school (Chino Hills High) across the valley. 





Huge prayer circles formed on both her campus and ours. Students bow their heads and hold each others hands, crying out to God for one of their...our own. She is everyone's #love4lexi. 

A family waits and prays; sleepless, drained, anxious, hopeful, fearful, faithful, and loved, held up by strength from the God they know is good and loving as well as caring family, friends, neighbors, church body and strangers. 
#love4lexi

...and I hear the words from many, because it is a fear of every parent to ever have to sit, pace, wait in the darkness of things, to watch their own son or daughter suffer, to know the odds, to place every ounce of their own heart, blood, soul and faith in their Heavenly Father and rely... out of default on the Holy Spirit to do your bidding because the numbness sets in, articulation is foggy at the least, adrenaline keeps our own breath too real and our thoughts and dreams... too intense. 

those words..."I can't imagine how (the family) they are feeling."  

And I don't answer that one, because this time... it is not about me. Let it always be about Love. 
#love4lexi

What I do know is that this is a family who knows the Lord, wherein lies their hope. What I do know is that God is good and His will is Good and Perfect. If Lexi lives, His will is Good and Perfect, if Lexi does not, His will is Good and Perfect. God's plan is good and perfect. Lexi is a miracle in the making. Lexi's purpose is for God's glory. 

And so we pray for Lexi, her family and for our own hearts. #love4lexi. 






The world's heartbeat skips and flutters away from a Holy place of surrender, but one heartbeat struggling, makes us catch our breath and refocus outside our own body. One hand joins another, one ball is continually passed to another, and lives touch other lives and Lexi touches ours as we bow our heads and hearts to a sovereign, loving God. 

And if we tell one another that God is love, and if we SHOW one another that God is Love and if we hold onto one another and encourage each because God is Love and if we humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to Love us too, we can know that God is Love, that He is good as we pray for His will, pray in His will.  #love4lexi. 

It still hurts, because love hurts too. Jesus experienced all the emotion of love, the deepest of hurts so He can love us in the deepest, most perfect way and then heal our own failures by teaching us how to love like Him. Though some things remain a mystery, His love is the portion of our heart that sustains the hope within us and gives us that eternal perspective-- a love-light seen through the gaps of our own the broken places. 

#love4lexi.  

Father God, we humbly come before you and ask for divine strength and healing for this young girl struggling to regain a heartbeat. We understand that one heart will be taken so that one can live. We pray for Your will in this. We ask for this family of faith, for your comfort and mercy in all the unknown days to come. May Lexi's life always be for Your glory and for our own reminder that our time is never promised but what IS promised...Your Love that is everlasting and Hope that heals. #love4lexi, #pray4lexi, Amen. 














Friday, February 3, 2017

A Passionate Life

Proverbs 4:23 "Watch over your heart with do diligence, (guard) for from it flow the springs of life."

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡   Did you know it is Heart Health month?  ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡  *

The brain is really the organ in charge of our thoughts and actions. Our heart, our life pumping, blood delivering hub, gets the romantic attachments, the icon shape, and sometimes the blame for when things happen--either for the good or not so good emotion- based actions. 






But really, that is, again, our thought processes, our decision making brain and all our input into it. 

I think the author of Proverbs is referring here to our passions--where our input comes from. 

Watch what you become passionate about. Be careful how much time is devoted to other things and not spent with God. (balance). What messages from the world are you listening to more intently than the Word of God? 

What are your priorities concerning your spiritual growth? 

To watch over something, to guard, indicates that there is an expectation that something may be lurking, may be ready to attack, may be wanting to steal away, slowly yet with intent, filter into our thinking and our passions. And so begins the dilution, the compromise, the passionless, unmarked, dimmed Christian life. The world bombards us with many ideologies, temptations, smart phone apps, social media, Super Bowl commercials...you know. But God gives us all we need to guard against it. 

Sometimes, it is subtle-- all the busyness of everyone these days, yours truly included. 


❦❦❦

A challenging end to January going into February, my writing and ministry partner has been hospitalized for almost 3 weeks now.  I've had to do some things without her. My heart and my brain hurt for my friend; and it is only human that feelings and thoughts build. It is in community, in strong friendships and in prayer where the Holy Spirit Commanding Guard stands ready to help us keep the beat going. Her faith and love for me--  heart medicine for encouragement and my strength. We soldier on to continue in our mission, a passion for story-telling and sharing within our community to discover and connect similar passions,  and just maybe, in our obedience, spark an eternal passion. God is so good. 

When we are overwhelmed with everything that is not of God, our life-giving, God reflecting spring just may begin to dry up, become bitter-tasting, and/or reflect a lot of other things, not the face of Christ. 

Christ is what gives our hearts life. His heart, his blood, his grace IS our life spring. 

So why wouldn't we want to guard that, cover it in prayer, protect it with accountability partners, bathe it in His Word and His truth? 





I know what I am passionate about. My family. I love them and I am loved and through our trials and our victories, our passion increases, our faith endures. I am passionate about keeping my son's memory alive in me and in others, for the hope of Heaven. The Word of God. It sustains me, oxygenates my blood and gives me life. Writing. I write for His glory. My friends. Like-minded, authentic, praying friends who want more of God and want to grow together, share His insights together. Creating in nature and art. To use the gifts He's given me and keep active, to see the beauty of His promises and know His grace when I seek Him and spend time being still, listening to His passionate, love-filled, guiding whispers, His wise leading. 

Oh, and then there are those butterflies. My heart's passion is for God and from it flows the life-giving passions that I pray reflect Him in all He gives me to do, to be in this world for His eternal Kingdom. That is worth guarding and protecting until the day He takes me Home.  ♡

                                                                          



Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us both a brain to think, to choose, to know, to reason with. Thank You for giving us a heart, our emotions, to feel love, pain, forgiveness and grace. With both of those, sin entered the world and my own life. But because of Your own plan, and Your own love, You--The Creator, the two are connected. Love and Wisdom from You are life-sustaining and eternity-giving. Without Your sacrifice,Your grace, worldly passions disappoint, end, change and/or keep us spinning on a hamster wheel with no hope, no eternal purpose. Thank You Lord, that You are a passionate God for us, so passionate, You gave Your only Son so that I can be full of purposeful passion for more of Your own heart and have a passion for others. Help me Lord to be the best reflection of that passion, even and especially when my own emotions are challenged and my mind is drifting. May You guard against my heart and my brain from receiving messages of doubt and fear, for they are not from You. How thankful I am to be a child of God because You chose to be passionate for me. Amen. 



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Friday, January 20, 2017

For This Reason

Colossians 1:9-10 "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandings, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God..."

A second storm ended this afternoon as I drove home from the bank and waited to get some dinner. I listen to the news of the day and wondered about the storms to come... 

I know who I shelter under, who my foundation is truly built on, who promises JOY in the morning.





America inaugurated a new President today. I don't have to tell you that he is not well-liked by many, yet he became our choice in this democratic process. He is not a politician but a negotiator. He doesn't use political language that moves around the problem, but speaks and tweets unfiltered while sitting in the middle of a major traffic jam leading to the heart of the issues in this country. Many our prepared to block entrances and exits. I am on the overpass, asking God for the right direction. 

I pledge my allegiance to America, but I serve a King, the eternal King of Kings. As a citizen of His Kingdom, He asks us to pray for those in authority over us. 

And so I will continue to pray for our President. May God guide you, fill you with His knowledge, give you understanding, grace and compassion for all people, citizens of the U.S. or not. You, a billionaire businessman with all your assets can boast of a fruitful life, probably a whole lot of good works with your money, but now this country waits and hopes that the next 100 days will be unifying, not divisive, encouraging, not fearful, strong, not overbearing. 

The fruit the Lord talks about is the kind that quenches a thirst, that leaves seeds to plant hope for eternity, a harvest that feeds thousands spiritual food. Fruit that empowers  to change a generation to end the poverty of hopelessness and degradation. 

A President can do that, can inspire. 
Anyone who lays their hand, their eyes and heart on the pages of a Bible, Abraham Lincoln's or their grandmother's from another generation, can inspire. 


Lincoln's Bible 
Someone with a little orange New Testament given to them on a street corner, can inspire. 

If God so wills it in the pages of His Word and that Word is read and His servant is obedient, miracles can happen. And so we pray for this reason...

For this reason, President Trump; for this reason, my friend, 

For this reason, I read His Word so that I can be continually transformed and a fruit-bearing citizen of this earth, of this country, of my own holy-ground-moments as compared to eternity.  



~~~



I'm baking a cake right now. It's for a memorial service tomorrow for Rev. Harvey Boese, a servant of the Lord. Just a few months shy of 100 years of age, he faithfully attended my church with his wife and daughter and her husband for the last several years of his long life. I read his obituary in last Saturday's paper. Here is a part of it: 


Rev. Harvey Gilbert Boese, 99, a resident of Chino Hills for 18 years, died Jan. 6, 2017, at home

He was born April 9, 1917, in Bloomfield, Mont. He grew up on a farm near Avon, S.D., where he completed eighth grade. He attended a school for the speech-handicapped for one year. 
He graduated from St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College, Minn.) in 1941. He received his bachelor of arts and bachelor of divinity degrees from Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary in 1943. He attended Mission Training Institute (now Nyack College, N.Y.) in 1944 and later attended Fuller School of World Missions. He earned his GED in 1975 at age 58.
He married Grace Chadderdon on June 15, 1944.
He was a Christian & Missionary Alliance missionary to Thailand for 28 years. He was pastor of Baldwin Park Alliance Church for five years. He provided translation services and pastoral care for Asian refugees for 11 years.
He lived in Chino Hills since 1998, when he retired from pastoral ministries.
Someone prayed for Harvey Boese. He leaves a legacy that impacted the world for hope and the Truth. He never stopped attending church. He wanted and knew he needed the fellowship and the "knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandings."

I know without a doubt, that the Lord is pleased with Rev. Harvey Boese. 

I know the Lord is pleased with me...because...because...
because I write? 
because I baked a cake?
because I told a woman she dropped her money in a puddle in the pouring rain (didn't notice it) today at the bank? 

None of the above. The Lord is pleased with us when we pray, when we take the time to humble ourselves, empty ourselves and give of ourselves to pray for others, even those who may or may not be someone we respect, or someone who has hurt us...or someone we fear. The Lord is pleased when our heart's desire is to be in His  will, not ours. It's never about our own goodness. It is because He is good. 

I am sure Harvey had a lot of stories of people who prayed for him, and I am sure at the service tomorrow, there will be stories from people who Harvey prayed for. 

For this reason, because God ordains it, I pray: God Bless you President Trump, God Bless America. God DID bless you Rev. Harvey Boese. God, bless his family, his dear wife Grace and his children and grandchildren. Give them the comfort and the legacy of faith to carry on. May You continue to use the seeds of the fruit planted for Your Harvest. I ask you Lord, for those souls who say they belong to You, to be obedient to Your Word and not their own agenda, to have words of love, especially for those who refuse, do not or cannot see You in the diluting of Your Truth in our country. Thank you Lord for Your Kingdom which will rule eternally and for the privilege to be a part of Your plan. Amen. 

Let us pray for this country, against division, hatred and violence--for unity and understanding, to work together, despite our own bias and opinions, for the greater Good. For so many reasons Lord, we pray, but if only for one reason Lord, that we might bring You glory and be privileged to partner with You to make Your truth known. 





Friday, January 6, 2017

One-On-One Time


Luke 5:3-4 And He got into one of the boats which was Simon’s, (Peter) and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat. And when He had finished speaking He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let your nets down for a catch.”




Have you shared a “boat ride” with the Lord?  Has he stepped into your very personal space and asked you to sit beside Him? Or have you chosen to stay on the shore, with the crowd where you find safety, obscurity, listen from afar with no commitments, learn enough lyrics from the songs to be convincing to some, maybe to yourself?  

All of us are a part of some crowd, followers, interested onlookers. At some point though, when does it become…when do you allow the Lord to have that one-on-one time with you, when do you schedule that appointment and begin the dialogue, the one about removing you from the crowd, and finding where your true purpose and gift can be and should be applied? You've kind of always wanted to know...don't you? -- Your story must...needs to make sense. 

Staying on the shore, lost in the crowd: it’s like reading everybody’s Facebook posts, but remaining anonymous. You took information in, but never gave back. 

The crowd pressed in and Jesus saw Peter.  He saw the whole picture of what was to be with this disciple, both the good and the bad times. Did he think past to the time of betrayal and then linger on whether to pursue him based on what He knew?

No, Jesus wanted to give Peter a plan, a greater purpose, offer up the Hope of reconciliation. He knew Peter’s spontaneous will, his fears, his self-centered nature. Don’t we all have that in our core—or something similar? Yep, we do.  But Jesus, being God, focused on the good, because God is good. He saw Himself manifested, glorified in Peter. Peter felt His love, was inspired already by His teaching…and now he wanted more and Jesus offered it in one-on-one time with Him. 



Jesus climbed into the boat and continued his preaching from there to the crowd on the beach. But he called out to Simon Peter to join him. Peter received teaching away from the beach, from the crowd, one-on-one, in a boat rocking back and forth in the waves, the waves and tides of life decisions and choices. Then Jesus told Peter to go deeper… and in Peter’s obedience, he was blessed and he grew in his belief.  

When Jesus went to the Cross, He got into your boat. He calls each and everyone to come, sit beside Him and listen. Where are you? Did you jump out only to find yourself dog paddling, even drowning? Are you still standing on the beach building castles that soon will be washed away?

The Lord has been calling out to you, yes, you in the crowd of this world, surrounded by your bantering burdens, your definitive doubts, the undulating unbelief, and the angry acid always rising.  I pray you are not lost in the crowd but fine tune your ears and soul with prayer to hear His voice calling out to you. The crowd hears, but does not listen.

I know you hear His voice, because you so recognize it;  it is the grace...that love. 

Climb in, pull anchor, trust Him and go deeper. You’ll find beauty in the journey and nets full of courage, strength, wisdom, and growing faith.  Step out for the first time, or again and refresh yourself in His Word.




I’ll say it again, Trust Him. He wants to give you a gift of discovery of yourself, who you can be in Him. Deeper is not somewhere over your head. Deeper is where you will grow, surrounded by buoys of encouragement in His Word, in fellowship and a net full of purpose in each new dawn.

Lord, going deeper takes courage. When you call us to salvation, we are forgiven, entering again into a loving relationship with the Father and receiving the Holy Spirit. Lord, in Your Word, you call us to continue to seek You and Your will. You give us gifts in which to help and encourage one another. Going deeper Lord is like pursing a Master’s degree, a Ph.D., obtaining the wisdom so we can serve others well, bear fruit, and shine Your Light. You Lord, paid all the tuition with your blood shed on the cross. In that, my knees hit the sand on the beach in humble thanksgiving. Now Lord, grant strength to conquer fears and step into the boat when you call us to one-on- one time with You.  A deeper faith immerses us in Your grace and that is a perfect place to be. Amen. 







Friday, November 18, 2016

A Grand Attitude, Every Day, All Day.

Psalm 107:8-9 "Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul, He has filled with what is good."

We're expecting a late night storm Sunday into Monday. It will be so nice to hear the rain, the drip-drop through my trees and the splash-splatter on my front door mat. I'll see the leaves shine again, polished by Heaven's hydration, and more of the yellow leaves now covering my backyard, a thick blanket of gold falling to make way for the new. It is oh, so good.






Thank you Lord for loving and for kindness.

Does the earth give thanks?  "Let them give thanks," the Psalmist says.

America celebrates Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside to be proactive in gratitude. 

When the skies overflow and rain streams through the dryness of the land,  it swallows and gulps that which it longs for, that sustains, nourishes, and enables it to thrive. It is loving and kindness and the results are beauty in the Spring, new growth, new hope.


And just think for a moment...If we spend some time feeding and drinking, nourishing in the words, the attitude and posture of Thanksgiving, what results can we expect in our spiritual bodies? And what if that became an all day every day event?

"Eucharisteo--thanksgiving--always precedes the miracle." 
~ Ann Voskamp.


Gratitude is just that, a GRAND ATTITUDE, because we see His wonders all around us. It can change us, if we allow it.




What wonders captivated you today? What did you notice, what caught you, stopped you for a second to know that God is good and He is loving and kind?

Loving: For me, today was spent at a memorial service for a close relative. "Let your Lifesong Sing" played by the worship band as my little 2-year old (3rd) cousin played at my feet, his great-grandfather's legacy surrounding me in new life and good memories.

Kindness: A friend from church sees me at the grocery store tonight and comments about my manuscript, how it is going to bless the church!  With tears, I could only say how without the church blessing and loving on me, teaching me, being Jesus to me--my memoir would not have been written.

God is good: Just when I think my son doesn't care too much about "certain things," he comes home from a little road trip and hands me a heart-shaped rock.

"I found a heart rock at the river mom, for you."



The earth needs rain. The soul needs the Hope of the Lord, the Word of God to sustain life, a hopeful life, a life of purpose. We need the constant drip and saturation of His Word, combined with fellowship and worship to sustain our walk with Him.

We all hunger for something. Our stomach growls, our gut groans for more. We consume and regurgitate, fill and purge. Then do it all again. Every day. All day. But the longing soul cannot be satisfied with our worldly lusts, our self-indulgence, our gluttony for our own expectations and desires.

It's only when we truly empty ourselves, remove the bag of our own guts and gizzards of grand schemes and glory, can the Lord refill us with His Goodness. It's a Grand Attitude of humbleness and sacrifice that will spring forth inner peace and joy.

Lord in Heaven and on Earth, we thank you and give you praise for how you show us Your wonders with the cycles of seasons, with sunshine, rain and new growth. Thank you Lord for satisfying our thirst when our lives become dry, when we've neglected Your Word, Your fellowship and failed to give You priority in our lives. Your sweet promises quench our hearts and hydrate our blood to flow again with a GRand Attitude: Gratitude! Thank you Lord for Your satisfaction, for feeding us Truth and helping us to desire your Banquet Table. Be with us Lord in Your Holy Spirit and continue to lead us into a life of Thanksgiving, not just one day out of the year, but all day, every day and continue to bring to us all Your wonders and goodness. May we be humble, for You Lord are Worthy. Lord, prompt us and prepare us to receive You, Every day, all day. Amen.


                                                   LIFESONG ~ CASTING CROWNS





                       

Friday, October 14, 2016

So Close, Yet Still So Far

Matthew 13: 57-58:  And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household." And He did not do many miracles there because of their own unbelief. 

Where is it the hardest to live your faith? At your work? Maybe. At church?...lots of spiritual comfort there. With your neighbors? We are called to love and serve our neighbors. All is good in the neighborhood. 

Let's ask this...Who do you have the most expectations for? Who do you find easy to judge, to "correct," to metaphorically be comfortable with, really be yourself...?

...Your household.  Your kin.  Your close family. 

The townspeople of Nazareth didn't get Jesus. He was from their lowly town and nothing good ever came out of Nazareth. How could this son of their neighbor, this brother of one of their buddies, ...this Nazarene, be so knowledgeable of scripture, share such wisdom? After all, he (He) was the son of a carpenter, he grew up with them, had the same experiences, same customs...





These fellow citizens with Jesus, missed it. Their unbelief, skepticism, maybe even jealousy, kept them distant from really seeing God, who came to bring fellowship with the Father--so very close.  He was their own neighbor, friend, maybe even their half-brother. 

God moved among them yet their unbelief, their own ideas about themselves, that they just were not worthy enough, --and who was he (He) to tell us any different...kept them from knowing who He really was--the Messiah. In the last part of this verse it says that He did not do many miracles there. 

It wasn't because there wasn't a need. 

Great is the need, our need. Greater still is our sin and our need to reconcile. 

They didn't ask Him, seek Him, truly follow Him, listen and process the Words that would heal, Their pride and their unbelief, maybe even unwillingness to truly connect and know Him brought their own isolation from the One who walked among them. 

So close, yet still so far. 

In my special education class, the Renaissance kids (student leadership) collaborate with our students for one period during the week. They interact and stimulate conversation, peer to peer, teenager to teenager. It is awesome. 

This week's project: a miniature hot air balloon made from a Dixie cup, yarn and...you got it, a balloon--a bit under inflated with helium. Pictures of our kids were taken the week before, cut out, mounted on cardboard placed inside the Dixie cup. The kids got to see "themselves" float around the room. 





I got to thinking about faith and trust and my own "balloon ride" in that journey  I had quite a few crash landings, but God never left me and continues to teach me His ways, His direction--and I pray I am listening and honoring Him.  

Sometimes it is just a "cardboard cutout," of ourselves, a flattend version minus the things we want to hang on to that we've placed in the basket of faith. God sees all of us. The launching moments of climbing high brought us salvation, but soon, the basket comes floating back down, the heaviness of our burdens not allowing us to see beyond to the horizon of what God can and wants to do in our lives. It's like having a brand new Mercedes Benz, but never driving it, keeping it locked up in the garage. 

Having experienced life, its hurts and God's healing,  some want to help, to understand, to encourage and give a good word, maybe some wisdom from their own ride. Unwilling to accept, the root of bitterness keeps JOY waiting in the wings. 

It is the miracle of seeing who Jesus really is and how to live free, soaring under His protection and purpose that gives true hope in a broken and hurt-filled world. 

The belief in ourselves and our feelings rather than His desires for us, more than the belief in the power He has to change us and our thoughts, is like the under-inflated balloon. It soon floats down to the street view. It's comfortable there. It's what we know.  

You don't get it. That's who you are, not me...Who are you to tell me?...

--and they took offense. 

So close, yet still so far.  

Lord, Please help us to accept wisdom, even when the lessons are so hard. Help us to be discerning, to be obedient to Your will for us and how to let go of the hurts that keep us grounded and isolated. Help us Lord to get close to You and not drift away in our own worldy thoughts. Lord, I don't want to be a cardboard version of myself in You, but be all You want me to be, learning to fly high in surrender and feel the love of those you've put in my life for  fellowship as we help each other through the ups and downs of this life. Thank you Lord for giving us Your Word. May we study, discern and know its truth and live accordingly so that You will be glorified and believed in us. I believe Lord, help me with my unbelief. Amen. 







Sidewalk Prophets~ "Live Like That" 











Friday, September 30, 2016

Prayers For A Seismic Event.

Isaiah 78:35  "And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the most High God, their Redeemer."

Last weekend, my family and I traveled just a couple hours east to the low desert for a weekend getaway. Always enjoying the open landscape of the desert, its unique plant life and vast wilderness, it certainly did not dissapoint. We took a drive out to Joshua Tree National Park on one of our outings, capturing visuals with photography and viewing information provided by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior--awe-struck at the beauty and splendor. God's architectural floor plan of these deserts actually include the convergence of two: the Mojave and the Colorado.







The weekend, special to us because it is the birthday of my older son, who looks down upon us now,  from his Heavenly vantage point. We do this family time in his memory for our own good and because God is good.





It's 3 days I yearn for more than Christmas, more than summer vacation, more than reunions, more than...anything. 

Why? 

Because in those 3 short days, a difficult relationship I have with my other son, heals. He lets his guard down. I never talk about yesterday or next week. We enjoy the moment, laughing, learning, playing, speaking civil to each other, exploring, celebrating, asking questions without pretense-- loving each other and  totally enjoying the scenery, the food and the atmosphere...each other. 

I ask God in my prayers... why do things change when we return?  His answer to me is to wait, be patient, keep praying and keep acting as though everyday I have to love on my son, is a day I am making and creating something new in him, softening him to receive and know the path I  planned for his own redemption, his return to his own promised land.

 OK, Lord, I trust You. 




For now, his wild wilderness remains untamed, hidden with venomous snakes seemingly always ready to strike. Like the Rangers at the station of the entrance to the park, God's Holy Spirit is at work protecting and guiding him and encouraging me. At night, away from the artificial light of the world, the sky in the desert displays the brillance of the stars and the planets--God's glorious realm in the heavenly places. I believe with all my heart because he is my son and I know his soul, that in his own strength, things will not change, but through faithful prayers of many and God's will, mountains will move and hearts will proclaim His goodness and stars will shine into eternity on the day God does a work in his heart. 




He moved mountains for me and in the moving of those hard places, one can see the evidence of surrender, the patterns of grace and the shape and color of love formed by the Creator himself. The bubbling lava of sin, shame, regret and grief, is now a vessel, a usable tool for His glory. 





For the next few days, the USGS has issued an earthquake advisory for So. California.  With over 140 "seismic events" recorded since Monday along the San Andreas Fault, (which also runs through Joshua Tree) this prediction warns us to be prepared in the event of the inevitable, the shaking up and realigning of the earth's crust. 

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-91617426/

Sometimes God has to do that...shake us up, and show us where we need realigning, teach us how to do just that. It's a slow process.  Joshua Tree, formed by volcanic activity, molten rock intruding into hardened rock,  is very visible and the unique shapes and stacking is truly magnificent. God has a plan for each and every one of us. 

Jesus, I pray to be a part of the plan, not in the way of Your plan. I ask for your molten blood to intrude and form a new shape in a hardened heart. Bring about change in a varied and vulnerable young man like the beautiful desert we explored. Converge your vast will and sovereignty together and create a unique and powerful formation in my son. Let him grow up, towards Your Light. When anger boils over and pressure cracks at the surface, show us the shade and hydration of  Your oasis of truth and purpose. Teach us Lord to honor you and set You apart and be a witness with kindness and gentleness, preserving the wonder You have created us to be. I pray this for our sons and daughters in the wilderness and for ourselves, traveling the road of faith that offers strength and hope around every turn.  Thank you Lord for your magnificent Creation and the lessons we learn and the inspiration it brings. Amen. 


Heart-Shaped Rocks